Ducks, Geese, Goats, and Alpacas (Oh My!)
This past summer our camp grew in a number of ways not just the size of our staff and the number of chalutzim [campers]. We also improved and expanded several of our basecamp activities, particularly our farm program.
One of the first things our chalutzim both noticed was that our dilapidated “Red Shed” in the middle of camp had been given new life as our goat barn. We have spent a lot of time and effort making the farm program a central part of camp, both in activities and location.
Our goal is simple and significant: for our chalutzim to experience the garden and animals every day in their walks between their activities and the chadar ochel. Two years ago, we created a new garden in the center of camp. This summer, we moved our goats into a newly refurbished loafing shed. Our ducks and chickens also relocated to their new homes alongside the garden and migrash. We hope to continue this expansion in the years ahead.
Two of our goats this summer were newborn, so in their honor we held a naming ceremony. Chalutzim in Metaylim (5th/6th grade) named the kids “Chalav” [Milk] and “Dvash” [Honey]. If you missed the video from the naming, here it is:
Campers participating in our farm program do more than caring for our many animals; they also plant and harvest our garden and greenhouse produce. This year we began harvesting items from our garden nearly four weeks earlier than last year, giving our chalutzim a chance to experience “farm to table” in the most literal sense of the expression.
One of the ways our campers gained firsthand knowledge of this connection was Ilanot’s (3rd/4th grade) farm masa. In a single day they learned how to milk the goats, make goat cheese, and cook their lunches all with produce from the farm. That night, our chalutzim camped under the stars, surrounded by the comforting sounds from our farm.
We are proud of our tzevet chava [farm staff] who worked tirelessly to bring our food values to the forefront this summer. Our chalutzim and tzevet all benefitted from the integration of our friendly goats, ducks, alpacas, and chickens to the heart of our camp!